In a town where virtually everybody wants to get their name and mug shot in the news, Scott Bowen is a different cat. He's so low profile, his family members probably don't even recognize him.
So when it came time to quiz the "invisible" state lottery czar on running out of luck on creating Internet lottery sales in Michigan, he was MIA.
However, you can piece together what went wrong.
In a nutshell as Mr. Bowen dreamed of lucrative profits from allowing gamblers to sit on the coach and use their laptop to win millions using their credit cards, two state lawmakers rounded up enough support to stop this before it multiplied.
Mr. Bowen requested $3.4 million from the legislature to launch this innovative expansion of the lottery business. He did not hit the jackpot.
He got nada which effectively kills Internet gaming in this state.
Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) and Rep. Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant) led the charge.
They had fears that making it so convenient to gamble would lead to more addiction, more crime, less profits at mom and pop stores that have a monopoly on selling lottery tickets, and if there was the hope of more lottery profits for the schools, the duo did not care.
In fact when Mr. Bowen did a one-on-one with the senator, that's the pitch he made. The schools would get more money but the senator working with two governors knew, "that money doesn't always get to K-12."
The frustration for Mr. Bowen is that he knows Internet gaming is just a matter of time. It's already mushrooming in Europe and Michigan was poised to get in on the ground floor.
Soon after the U.S. Justice department opened the way for wagering on your P.C., Mr. Bowen was at the head of the line putting out a Request for Proposal from vendors who were more than eager to play the game.
The czar got the governor to sign off but lawmakers would not.
Well if the administration really wanted to do this, it could probably find $3.4 million somewhere else to do the launch, but alas, all you lottery fanatics, there will be no end run around legislators.
A source reveals, "We respect the legislative process (and) and we will proceed when we have the O.K. from them." And given the conservative nature of the beast, that could be never.
So players will be relegated to driving to their local lottery agent with the only thing left to do on the couch is eat chips and watch the Tigers lose.
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